Sunday, March 30, 2008

Charlie Nicholas gives me the boak

Big T is a very smart, insightful, friend of mine. He’s made a lot of sense to me on a whole range of subjects and I hold his views on the world in high regard. Following my invitation to look at my blog, he offered comment and I asked if I could put some of it up here, because, true to form, he has struck on the ideas at the very heart of my electronic purpose…

Big T said…
I found your comments on football books interesting…it is true that there is a surprising dearth of decent football authors, especially, as you said, football is such a popular sport. Perhaps, on reflection…referring to your point on Charlie Nicholas and the thousands of other incoherent, mumbling, stammering, uncommunicative, inarticulate and unintelligable players and ex-players, … the vast majority of football players, and therefore ex-players, coaches and managers are more adept at expressing themselves with a football at their feet than a pen in their hands…in my opinion at least, football is more than a sport; it is an art of expression,

Wise words. Galeano couldn’t have put it better. Despite having the demonstrative Harper/Slater (sensible,steady writer-observer/pish-talking exfootballer) team, my response to Big T was...

You're right big man. It is about expression. Football, writing, writing about football, the whole lot. You're right too, it's no for me to judge these people outside of their field of expertise. I wasnae being disrespectful, well I was a bit, more than a bit in some cases. I definitely was about Charlie Nicholas (and Robbie Slater)- watching him commentate gives me the boak (feel sick). He has a tremendous ability to make moments of balletic fluidity on the park sound like a bull in a china shop stramash. Don't get me wrong I wish I could play football like some of the people he talks about. I wish I could write like he played.

I've been struggling to get a handle on why there are so few works of fiction regarding such an immensely popular sport. It was the running theme of my Masters and one that’s set to plague my PhD.

The ‘players-writers’ theory is just one notion I would put forward. Another, there isn’t a market. No demand, no supply. It's something else I need to consider before I set about adding paper to shelves that might never get emptied.

Big T had been thinking about the supply and demand question too…
the digestors of football material are mostly visual predators. Seeking the pleasure and fun of a beautiful move, a pass, a goal, a tackle through voyeurism as a spectator. However, it's true that as much excitement can be derived by listening to a match on the radio, sometimes depending on who's commentating, often depending on the occasion, but always, I'm sure, the words in the air are converted to images in the brain for us to feast on…the ordinary punter would rather see something than read about it. …to read about football is a secondary interpretation or derivative of the original goal. (I'm sure you'll excuse the terrible pun).

Big T also believes there is a football fiction market for ‘discernable punters’. I hope he’s right. I know he’s right about the other stuff - how we view football and derive so much from it. Like I said at the start, I agree with him. I want to be able to think about football fiction differently and he helped me do that.

I'm looking for people to say, “Big man, you are talking pish.” I'm no looking for expert advice, though I'd gladly take it, I'm looking for arguments to reinforce my views or tear them down. It all helps me move forward.

Thanks again Big T. If any one out there has any thing to add, please do.


Eamonn said...

welcome to the football blogworld.

and looking like a great welcome addition as well.

as for ex-players as commentators, Andy Gray Ange Postecogolou copying Andy Gray also get my goat.

Seems we in Australia have a dearth of co-commentators. Even Commentators. Apart from Simon Hill no-one else is worth listening to.

Mike Cockerill is a writer not a talker, but got the gig because we had few others who could do it.

Personally the format is so dull. Wouldn't it be great to throw in something different. A little more humour, a bit of distance from their playing mates. Entertain us for christ sake.

Perhaps Fox could experiment occasionally with one of the games each weekend.

anyway keep blogging

the ink-stained toe-poker said...

Thanks for the kind words.
I agree about the commentating.

I've been watchin' Setanta recently and they have experienced scottish commentators and a host of explayers and while they do run out the usual rubbish there is a bit of patter as well. Better still its really funny watching ex celtic and rangers players trying to sound impartial.

I agree with you about Simon Hill, he loves the game and at least makes an effort to open both eyes when its needed.

Though Fozzie's another full of rubbish commentator I can hardly watch. He seems to dislike anything that isn't total flowing football perfection. We all love that kind of football when and if it ever gets played, but he's the only one expecting to see it every week, worse he gets the hump if he doesn't.

SBS do have a little bit 'different' don't they? They keep throwing in is yer man Lovelock with his wee dog. The less said about it the better though.

More humour would be good, even just a lessening of their sense of self importance in Australian commentary would be enough to make it easier on the ear.

For all his faults I still like Motson. He at least has a bit of charisma.

As far as Fox experimenting though, they present the way Arsenal used to play their football.. safe, steady and mighty mighty boring.

Thanks again eamonn.